Colonizing the Altiplano

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

In “The Creation of Imaginary Worlds” — one of the essays collected in Writing Science Fiction & Fantasy — Poul Anderson mentions one of the challenges of colonizing our own Earth:

It takes both sexes to keep humanity going. The Spaniards failed to colonize the Peruvian altiplano for the simple reason that, while both they and their wives could learn to breathe the thin air, the wives could not bring babies to term. So the local Indians, with untold generations of natural selection behind them, still dominate that region, racially if not politically.

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